14-0 MMA prospect, Jimi Manuwa, made his UFC debut in 2012.
The Nigerian-English fighter took time to master mixed martial arts, a tough athlete from school-age up until this very day, his physicality was never a concern, but his skill level in the cage.
Manuwa, 34, has been a pro for six years. His career has seen many periods of inactivity. He declined a UFC contract in 2009, despite being viewed as one of MMA’s best upcoming strikers. He was looking to develop into a “fuller” mixed martial arts fighter. Something those following him have certainly noticed in recent years — and a symbol of Manuwa’s maturity as an individual and combatant.
Manuwa is coming off stoppage victories over Ryan Jimmo and Cyrille Diabate. These victories weren’t completed in the most conventional fashion, since both Jimmo and Diabate suffered injuries during their bouts against Jimi, bringing the contests to an end. His performances were enough to persuade UFC matchmakers into fast-tracking Manuwa into the biggest fight of his pro MMA career against Alexander Gustafsson.
Gustafsson, a 6’4, strong-statured middleweight, is considered by some as the “peoples’ champ” since he put on a Fight of the Year contender against Jon “Bones” Jones in September of last year, a fight many feel he should’ve won on points. A win against Manuwa will move him closer to a rematch against Jones.
Alexander and Jimi have become increasingly well-rounded MMA fighters in recent years, but it is safe to expect a battle on the feet at UFC Fight Night 37. The result? A clear-cut #1 contender for the UFC’s light heavyweight belt, after Daniel Cormier gets his shot.
Gustafsson vs. Manuwa headlines UFC London on Saturday, March 8th. This event will be broadcast live by UFC’s new “Fight Pass” subscription video streaming service.
Who will rise and who will fall?